/ Camp / Cassin X-Dream axes - anyone tried them?
I was originally set on Nomics having tried a friend's set, however, recent posts mentioning issues with durability and heads / pommels coming loose put me off a bit.
The alternative was Fusions but I was a little put off by the weight and less than rave reviews about performance on ice.
I have finally come across the Cassin (Camp) X-Dreams on sale in the uk at a good price. They look the business, cost less than rivals and, from the reviews I've seen, they seem to tick all the boxes, performing well in all areas.
Just wondering if anyone has used these and can offer any thoughts on how they stand up against the more popular Nomics/Fusions?
There is a review of them here.
DMM offerings not appeal? They certainly look more robust than the Nomics.
Look good, feel good, but not actually used them. Not sure about the joint in the middle of the shaft or I would have bought a pair.
Used them briefly last winter, but only on water ice, so can't comment for mixed. I thought they were excellent. Nicely balanced, very well made, robust and angle adjustable. I still think that my Nomics have the edge on steep ice as the handles fit my hands better, but otherwise they were pretty equal. Slightly heavier too, which is no bad thing I suppose.
The Edelrid Rage is very good value for money.
I have used a pair last winter for my first "real" season ice & mixed climbing. I'll start saying I'm no expert having climbed only a handful of lines up to WI5+ and M7 only (terrible season by the way...). None of my mates have X-Dream axes, so I was able to very roughly compare Cassin's axes with E-Climb's Cryo and Petzl's Nomics. Needless to say, we're talking about three of the high-end axes in the market. It's really hard to say whether one is better than the other. If it were that simple we would all use the same axes :-) And I've never even climbed on Grivel's, Edelrid's, BD's etc. axes, although I've seen all available models at Friedrichshafen only weeks ago. The high-end range at the moment is ridiculously wide, I can tell you that much...
Now, back to the X-Dreams. With respect to versatility, adjustability and general ergonomics, I think they're really good and possibly have an edge with any other ice axe I've hold in my hands. Triggers can be adjusted or removed and the hand grip can be made larger or smaller. That's all "standard". The change of configuration of the handle is the real deal, which paired with the three picks available makes the X-Dream a true all-rounder. With respect to how they swing and work on ice/rock, they're as good as the two other axes I've tried. It would be like comparing top end rock shoes. Providing the fit is right, and having the patience to adjust to the different models, they're all ace and it's really down to personal preferences. If I were to really look for some "defects" the only thing I've noticed was that the pick (the X-Dreams come with the "mixed" pick, two more picks are available as optionals) seemed to wear out faster than, for instance, the Cryo's (curiosity: Cryo's picks are B-rated, X-Dream's picks are T-rated). Obviously the first thing I've tried as soon as I got them was to rotate the handle. The bolt was tightened to death (factory) and after having changed from mixed to ice and from ice to mixed few times the bolt looked already stripped a little. I guess that's not a massive deal, that's obviously something more to think about, but also the one cool feature that no other axe has (in fact there will be another model from another manufacturer with a similar feature just moved from the handle to the head...). Another thing that is good, but also bad :-) is the sand paper grip. It's super grippy, but it will trash your gloves in no time. In the end I decided to tape them. Taping the axe shaft is a good idea anyway if you're the type that bites his axes (I am).
I think it's a valid option, by no means a second choice. At least here (NW Italy) they're priced in line with all other top end axes. I guess in the UK they may look like something "exotic". Here they're almost as popular as the Nomics.
Check this out too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzX9Kmkslsk which comes from this guy: http://dziaby.blogspot.it/2013/10/szopa-rozbudowa.html
Hope this helps,
Hi Nicolas, got to say I think your spot on there, I might be missing the greatest trick in the book because I'm too cautious. Every body I know who has them loves them (that's two people). I think you're wrong though when you say it's hard to tell top end axes apart. In my opinion there are some real turkeys masquerading as top end axes, and there are some really good axes with some obvious flaws. I once watched a newby ice climber take 16 swings to get a stick, that's just not right.
Personally, and I learnt the expensive way, if I was going to recommend a top end axe for Scotland, that I can still dry tool with and climb grade IV to XV and WI whatever, it would be, and I had to get my Nomics out and check the wobbly head again before I said this, the DMM Switch (even though there too heavy and the handle doesn't adjust). But of all the ones I've used they look like being the most polyvalent and robust.
Thanks for all the replies. I went ahead and bought a pair having been unable to find a bad review anywhere. Also found some great deals on replacement picks which tipped the balance over nomics. £30ish for a pair of new picks...speaks for itself.
Na...way too heavy for me.
Or the new Grivel Tech Machine when it comes out. Grivel usually make good stuff.
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